Trinity Western University hockey players appeared in their very first U Sports games against UBC teams on Friday, Oct. 15, with the Spartans women’s team playing the Thunderbirds at the Langley Events Centre, while the men’s team challenged UBC at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre.
Spartans women’s team was elevated to Canada West and U Sports, Canada’s top tier of university sports, after previously playing as a non-varsity team in the South Coast Women’s Hockey League.
In their U Sports debut, Spartans scored the first goal of a historic game when Ashlee Wolfe, with an assist from Jordyn Matthews, got one by UBC early in the second period.
It would be the only time the Spartans managed that feat, however, with UBC going on to win 3-1.
All three of UBC’s goals came on the power play.
TWU Head Coach Jean LaForest said the Trinity players can compete with UBC – if they don’t make too many trips to the penalty box, that is.
“We couldn’t stay out of the box, but I really think the outcome would have been completely different if it weren’t for our lack of discipline,” LaForest commented.
Tonight’s game was won on special teams, so we need to make adjustments on both our power play and penalty kill since we weren’t able to be successful on either of those.”
TWU took 11 penalties and 22 penalty minutes compared to UBC, which had eight penalties and 16 minutes.
Trinity Western men played their season-opening game on Friday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, losing 5-1 to UBC as Kolby Johnson potted TWU’s first goal in U Sports history.
TWU’s Luke Spadafora had a chance to put the Spartans up early as the first-year was awarded a penalty shot seven minutes into the game, but UBC goaltender Rylan Toth kept the game drawn at 0-0.
Then, UBC team captain, Tyler Sandhu, got the team’s first goal of the season.
Johnson and the Spartans struck in the second period, marking a major historical moment for TWU in their inaugural U Sports season.
TWU men’s team was the two-time defending BC Intercollegiate Hockey League champion before being admitted to U Sports, along with the women’s hockey team at the Langley-based university in 2019.
Spartans currently compete in 13 sports in the Canada West conference, including women’s and men’s soccer, volleyball, basketball, hockey, cross country and track and field, as well as women’s rugby sevens.
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